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Congress Should Make 2022 Donations to Ukraine Relief Deductible in 2021



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We welcome back commenter in chief Bob Kamman with a suggestion to Congress regarding how it could help further to provide relief for the individuals impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.  Keith

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the United States Senate on March 5, 2022, by video connection.  President Zelensky is a law-school graduate, although he chose to follow what some consider the more respectable profession of acting until called to politics.  But he is probably not familiar with American tax law and specifically the enactment 17 years ago of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Act.

That law allowed Americans to deduct on their 2004 federal income tax return, any contributions made in January 2005 for relief of tsunami victims.   The tsunami occurred on December 26, 2004, with an epicenter near Sumatra, Indonesia.

Generally, retroactive legislation early in the following year has been more of a disaster than the one it is trying to ameliorate.  But come on, guys, as our President might say.  This is a war on a European country of more than 40 million people.  The refugee count is already in the millions. 

So, announce it now.  Donations made to qualified organizations by April 18 may be claimed on either a 2021 or 2022 return.  Yes, many people have already filed, but those with deeper pockets are more likely to file closer to the deadline or to request an extension.

The legislation doesn’t have to be passed tomorrow.  Just introduce it with enough bipartisan sponsors that the effective date is certain. 

And maybe this would be more symbolic than productive in net donations for the year.  But when was a better time for symbolism?

There are many charities that qualify for a tax deduction under Sec. 501(c)(3) The Philadelphia Inquirer put together a list of some organizations last week.  I am sure there are others, and publicity about a new option on year of deduction will spur efforts to put out the word on them.



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